Susa Ventures unveils a $50 mln second seed fund
Susa Ventures unveiled a $50 million second seed-stage fund that at double the size of the first will enable the firm to increase its check size.
Susa Ventures II will continue the San Francisco firm’s investment thesis of backing enterprise SaaS companies with unique data sets or which employ machine learning. It plans to make 10 to 12 investments a year mainly in the United States.
Backers of the oversubscribed fund include Horsley Bridge Partners and Cendana Capital.
The fund is managed by General Partners Seth Berman, Chad Byers and Leo Polovets, who was one of the first engineers at LinkedIn and later worked at Google. The firm’s 2013 first fund has a portfolio of 41 companies, including Flexport, Robinhood and Periscope Data.
Not participating in Fund II is General Partner Eva Ho, who’s based in Los Angeles and is looking to start a separate fund with a new partner that splits its focus on startups in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
She told VCJ that the split from Susa was her decision and that it was amicable. She said she continues to be involved in Fund I.
Susa anticipates the average check size for its initial investments will rise to between $400,000 and $750,000, compared with $250,000 to $500,000 for its first fund. –Mark Boslet and Alastair Goldfisher
Powerplant Ventures raises $42 mln for plant-based food companies
Los Angeles-based Powerplant Ventures has raised $42 million for a fund that will focus on emerging plant-centric companies.
Among Powerplant Ventures’ current portfolio companies are Hail Merry, REBBL, Thrive Market, Terravia, Hampton Creek and Juicero.
The Powerplant team includes Managing Partner Mark Rampolla, founder of ZICO Coconut Water, which was acquired by the Coca-Cola Company in 2013 for $200 million. He is joined by Kevin Boylan and T.K. Pillan, co-founders of the fast-casual restaurant chain Veggie Grill, and Dan Beldy, the former managing director of Steamboat Ventures, Disney’s venture arm.
Brooklyn Bridge raises a $15.1 mln second fund
Brooklyn Bridge Ventures has closed on a $15.1 million second seed fund, according to a blog post from General Partner Charlie O’Donnell.
O’Donnell said he attracted several new LPs and most of his existing LPs to the fund, which will write larger checks. Fund I raised $8.25 million.
The firm anticipates checks of $350,000 when it leads deals. compared with the roughly $200,000 its first fund could support.
The fund will continue to focus on New York companies that have yet to raise $750,000 in previous rounds.
Binary Capital wraps up latest fund at $175 mln
Binary Capital has closed its latest fund at $175 million. The San Francisco-based consumer tech-focused venture firm raised $125 million for its debut fund in 2014.
The firm, led by Justin Caldbeck and Jonathan Teo, focuses on early-stage consumer tech and has backed gaming platform Unikrn, the artificial intelligence bot platform Assist and the moving services provider Bellhops, among others.
Binary Capital’s staff also includes Tiffany Zhong, now 19, who was featured in the New York Times last year.
Kobe Bryant kicks off $100 mln venture fund
Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant unveiled a $100 million venture-capital fund to invest in technology, media and data companies.
Bryant, who turned 38 in August, is partnering with 43-year-old entrepreneur and investor Jeff Stibel, the newspaper said. Their firm, Bryant Stibel, will be based in Los Angeles.
The two men are contributing the $100 million and are not seeking outside investors Together they have invested in 15 companies since 2013. After Bryant retired from the NBA this past season, they decided to formalize their relationship.
Current investments include sports site The Players Tribune, Scopely, LegalZoom, RingDNA, Juicero and VIPKID.
Vertical wraps up inaugural fund
Santa Clara, California-based Vertical Venture Partners has closed its inaugural fund with $51.3 million in commitments, according to a regulatory document.
The filing indicates the money was raised from 32 investors. The firm was founded a couple of years ago by David Schwab, a former managing director with Sierra Ventures.
True Ventures raises $310 mln
True Ventures closed on a $310 million fifth fund, according to a blog post on the firm’s site.
The 10-year-old firm now manages $1.3 billion in capital and has funded more than 220 companies, according to the post. True’s previous 2014 fund raised $290 million.
Correlation Ventures collects about $188 mln for second fund
Correlation Ventures, which relies on predictive analytics to make investment decisions, has raised about $188 million for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing. The San Diego-based venture firm, which also has an office in Palo Alto, California, closed its previous fund at $165 million.
Sofinnova collects $595.5 mln for 10th fund
Sofinnova Ventures has raised $595.5 million for its 1oth fund, according to a regulatory filing.
The target was $650 million. The biopharmaceutical venture firm closed its ninth fund at a hard cap of $500 million in July 2014.
Earlybird plans healthtech fund
Earlybird Venture Capital, an investor in medtech companies EBS Technologies and Miracor, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding for its Germany-based healthtech fund.
The fund will invest primarily in medical technology across Europe.
Earlybird Health Tech Fund’s backers include NRW.BANK, the Generali Insurance Group, Miele and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
The fund’s target is €100 million to €120 million ($113 million to $135 million).
Santander doubles fintech firepower
Spanish bank Santander has committed another $100 million to its London-based venture arm, Santander Innoventures.
The corporate VC was launched in 2014 with a $100 million pot to pursue early-stage fintech investments anywhere Santander has a presence.
At the time, Innoventures expected London to be a key market, but of the nine portfolio companies added so far, six are U.S.-based.
Managing Partner Mariano Belinky says the new capital will help the firm “expand our portfolio to exciting geographies like Latin America and explore more opportunities across Europe.”
And while big data and online lending were the hot sectors in 2014, under the bank’s “Fintech 2.0” philosophy, Belinky is now also looking at artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive computing.
Santander Innoventures usually invests initially in Series A rounds. –Alex Derber
China launches $30 bln state-controlled venture fund
China’s state council has approved a 200 billion yuan ($30.19 billion) venture fund to invest in innovative technology and industrial upgrading projects, the country’s state assets regulator announced in mid-August.
China has been encouraging its businesses to rise up the value chain through technical innovation and tougher efficiency standards, with the aim of creating globally competitive conglomerates. It has vowed to be more selective in the way it disburses funds, and aims to cut off credit for non-competitive companies that are unable to upgrade.
The fund is financed by China Reform Holdings Corp Ltd (the main sponsor and controlling shareholder), China Postal Savings Bank, China Construction Bank Corp and Shenzhen Investment Holdings. –Reuters
Westpac re-instigates Reinventure fund
Australian bank Westpac has agreed to a second fintech fund from Sydney-based Reinventure, an independent venture firm that counts the bank as its sole LP.
Fund II will be the same A$50 million ($39 million) size as its 2014 predecessor, which invested in 10 companies.
Initial tickets will be in seed-stage and Series A, with follow-on funding up to Series B.
“We haven’t seen a material change in valuations in the market over the last year, aside from a few anomalies,” said Rohen Sood, an investment manager with Reinventure.
Within financial services, the new fund will target areas such as credit, security and data, while it will also invest in wider sectors such as agriculture, health and real estate if financial technology is embedded in the product. –Alex Derber
Australia offers biomedical sweeteners
Australia has earmarked A$250 million ($193 million) of public money to support investment in its life sciences sector.
Capital from its new, for-profit Biomedical Translation Fund will be available to VCs that can drum up matching private investment for any deal, with investments likely to range from A$5 million to A$20 million ($4 million to $16 million) per company.
The focus will be on commercialisation of biomedical discoveries that have been developed to the late pre-clinical, clinical trial or post-proof of concept stage.
BTF was created in part to bridge a so-called ‘valley of death,” the gap between early- and late-stage research that Australian investors have traditionally shied away from.
General partners who avail themselves of BTF money must not be invested in other funds, and cannot invest more than one-fifth of their committed capital in a single company. –Alex Derber
Brazil gets new corporate VC
Diversified Brazilian conglomerate Algar Group has pledged to pump 5 percent of annual profit into a new VC unit called Algar Ventures.
The parent company has interests in agriculture, technology, telecoms, tourism and security, and the VC unit’s focus will largely be in those areas.
Net income for the group totaled R$200 million ($64 million) in 2015, though it is unclear whether the VC unit’s slice will be allocated on a rolling or one-off basis.
Algar Ventures will initially seek partnerships with startup incubators and accelerators, before moving into a more traditional venture investment role, either directly into companies or into other funds.
No minimum or maximum investment amounts have been set, and Algar has said it is prepared to invest from embryonic to mature stages of company development.
The goal, according to Clau Sganzerla, the group’s vice president of strategy, is to provide a bridge between disruptive startups and large corporations that desire innovation, but often have too little risk appetite to support it. –Alex Derber
Downloadable Data: U.S.-based venture fundraising (July 2016)
Downloadable Data: Worldwide venture fundraising (July 2016)
Compiled by VCJ staff
Photo of hands silhouetted against a backdrop projected with various currencies courtesy Reuters/Kacper Pempel